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HOW TO SELECT A WINDOW COVERING
~ A Shopper's Guide ~
window coverings is one of the most complicated decorating decisions homeowners face,
as there are many practical and aesthetic considerations. According to the National
Association of Home Builders' "Housing Facts, Figures & Trends 2004"
report, a typical, newly built 2,272 square-foot house has an average of 19 windows.
So most homeowners must multiply this decision by 19!
Experts at the nation's
leading window covering company, Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, offer the following
guide to help you select custom window coverings that will provide the best practical
performance and add pleasing decorative qualities to every room in your house. Here
are the questions you need to ask, and better yet, the answers:
What are your needs for privacy?
A general rule of thumb is
that if you can see out through closed treatments during the day, others can see
in at night. Hunter Douglas has a range of products that offer options ranging from
sheer to privacy and all the degrees in between. Silhouette® window shadings, which
feature fabric vanes suspended between sheer fabric panels, rotate for varying degrees
of privacy and light control allow you to see your view and at the same time provide
privacy. It comes in a light-dimming Bon Soir™ fabric for areas where more room darkening
is desired. Luminette® Privacy Sheers, the vertical version of Silhouette shadings
featuring a sheer fabric facing with vertical fabric vanes attached to the rear for
privacy and light control, has an Evening Star™ room-darkening vane option.
some the ability to close a blind, shade, shutter, shading, privacy sheer or drapery,
especially at night, offers both shelter and comfort. Hunter Douglas recently introduced
window covering showcasing 2 ¾"-wide fabric louvers with a elliptical,
cellular shape that
rotate 180 degrees in either direction and raise and lower
like a shade. The headrail and bottom rail are also elliptical in shape and pivot
with the louvers to virtually disappear. When the louvers are fully open, the view
is crystal clear, when closed, privacy is complete. Alouette LightLouvers are offered
in two opacities - the translucent Clair and room-darkening Clair de Lune™. For an
even more sheltering look, Alouette louvers may be layered with draperies that may
be pulled shut at night.
What are your needs for light control?
window coverings go up and down and make all stops in between. Duette® honeycomb shades,
Brilliance® pleated shades, Jubilance® Roman shades and Provenance® woven woods offer
the added option of being lowered from the top down, thus allowing light to enter
a room while still providing privacy and offering maximum light control. And there
is now a Top-Down / Bottom-Up and TiltAnywhere™ option for the popular Silhouette
window shadings which allows you to operate the shadings from the top down, or the
bottom up or in combination and tilt the product when it is in any position.
with either vertical or horizontal louvers, vanes or slats such as Country Woods®
Collection™ wood blinds, Heritance® hardwood shutters, Palm Beach™ Custom Shutters,
Silhouette shadings, the new Alouette LightLouvers, Luminette sheers and Cadence™
Soft Vertical Blinds allow you to redirect the light to change the complexion of
a room by rotating or tilting the louvers.
Of course, how much light control
you need depends what your room will be used for. For media rooms, Duette honeycomb
shades in opaque fabrics with an aluminized polyester core that provides total room
darkening are a good choice. These shades are available with PowerRise® battery powered
remote control motorization, which can be integrated into home automation systems.
Remembrance® window shades in opaque fabrics area also now offered with radio frequency-controlled
hardwire motorization and can be very effective for media rooms.
does your window face? And what are your needs for UV-ray protection and energy efficiency?
windows bring in the most even and consistent light. It is also the coldest exposure,
so for energy conservation these windows are often treated with insulated shades
- such as Duette® honeycomb shades, which trap air in the honeycomb cells, and Country
Woods Collection wood blinds - or lined draperies and cornices. Duette honeycomb
shades come in single, double and triple honeycomb layers and a multitude of fabric
and hardware options. The Duette triple honeycomb shade is the most energy efficient
nationally branded window covering on the market.
South-facing windows receive
sunlight year-round, casting a warm, golden glow on interiors. Heat and UV rays in
this consistent light will cause the most damage, so, choose products that can protect
fabric and furniture from the sun's harmful rays. The right window covering can block
up to 99 percent of UV rays. Look for a "% UV blockage" rating. The higher
a product's rating, the better the home's interior is protected from UV rays. For
example, Duette honeycomb shades can block up to 99.9 percent of UV rays. Remembrance®
window shades in opaque fabrics, Vignette® window shadings - an updated Roman shade
with gently contoured fabric folds that roll up into a sleek headrail - Heritance
hardwood shutters and Duette shades in opaque fabrics are all good choices.
windows admit the most balanced or full-spectrum light, however, its brightness and
clarity may render it warm, especially in the morning. Window treatments with two
layers that diffuse light, such as Alouette LightLouvers with it is cellular louvers,
Silhouette window shadings with companion Luminette Privacy Sheers and Duette honeycomb
shades are good choices here.
If your windows face west they are exposed to the
hottest light and also the haziest because by day's end, there are so many impurities
in the atmosphere. Many of the same treatments as south-facing windows are good selections
here. Products like Silhouette window shadings and Luminette sheers can also provide
UV protection while still allowing a view.
Is noise a problem?
windows face a crowded street, sound can be a problem, especially at night. It's
good to know that fabric window coverings can provide a solution. Alouette LightLouvers,
for instance, with its 2 ¾"-wide fabric louvers with an elliptical shape absorb
almost half of all reflected sound, as
do Luminette sheers. Duette honeycomb
shades with the triple layer of honeycomb cells absorb almost three quarters of all
Do your windows open and, if so, do you open them often?
windows open up, some out and some in. Other slide from side to side. For window
or glass doors that slide open and shut Hunter Douglas vertical blinds or a vertical
covering like Luminette sheers work well. Duette honeycomb shades with the Vertiglide®
hardware system is another wonderful style option because the honeycomb fabric is
oriented vertically with the shade operating sideways. When open, it folds back to
a mere six inches, no matter how wide the treatment. If the window is used for ventilation
it is best to have treatment that stacks off the window so that incoming breezes
will not rattle or damage it.
Is the window covering child-safe?
if you have young children or pets at home safety is important. In 1993, Hunter Douglas
introduced the Break-Thru® Safety Tassel for horizontal blinds, leading the industry
in addressing the safety concerns posed by window covering cords. Since that time
the company has continually introduced new and improved technologies that enhance
the safety of Hunter Douglas products and family homes.
Among the safety innovations:
the PermAssure® Safety Wand, a fiberglass wand that is a single control replacing
both the cord and the chain on vertical blinds; cordless, wireless PowerRise motorization;
the UltraGlide® patented lifting system on Duette shades and Silhouette shadings,
which features a single, retractable cord that is easily kept out of the way of children;
and the LiteRise® Touch System, a cordless lift system that allows shades or blinds
to be raised and lowered with touch of a finger.
What about hard-to-reach
For very large and hard-to-reach windows, such as skylights and clerestory
windows, motorization is a necessity, and in rooms where there is an entire wall
of windows and in bedrooms where it allows controlling the window covering without
leaving your bed, it is a great
convenience. Hunter Douglas offers motorization
on many of its window coverings.
Luminette® with PowerGlide® remote control motorization
both traverses the sheers and rotates the fabric vanes. Duette honeycomb shades and
Silhouette window shadings are available with PowerRise® motorization and a Silhouette
with PowerRise retrofit kit allows manually operated shadings to be motorized. New
PowerTilt® remote control motorization that tilts blinds open or closed by remote
control is available on Country Woods Collection wood blinds, Hunter Douglas Alternative
Wood Blinds and Shapes and Modern Precious Metals™ aluminum blinds.
What are the proportions of the room?
The window treatment
should be considered within the overall scale of the interior in terms of both height
and size to maintain proper proportions. If, for example, the window is small in
relation to the rest of the room, you may want to extend the covering to the edge
of the window molding to make the window seem larger. For a large window with a beautiful
view you may want a simple covering, like Silhouette shadings, Luminette sheers or
Alouette louvers that will enable you to control light without obscuring the views.
For a window with an interesting architectural frame, place the covering within the
frame so as not to obscure it. Also, for a room with a low ceiling, remember that
vertical lines can enhance the height of a room. Cadence Soft Vertical Blinds with
a patented curved louver profile for the softness of a drapery can add height as
can Luminette Privacy Sheers.
What colors do you prefer?
as you increase areas of coverage. A small amount of bright red might be suitable
for a decorative tape or trim, but overwhelming in an entire window treatment. To
visually expand a window or room choose soft, light or cool colors such as lemon
yellow, seafoam-green or sky blue. Another hint: Coordinate the window coverings
with the wall color, as low contrasts will keep the eye moving around the room. Reverse
the technique to make the window or room appear smaller and cozier by using dark,
warm colors and high contrast between the window and wall. Also remember what your
window looks like from the outside. Many Hunter Douglas window coverings have neutral
white backings for a consistent from the exterior.
How does pattern work
at the window?
Always consider the effect pattern at the window will have on
the whole room. Are there other patterns in the decoration? Will they complement
each other or create chaos? Pattern, like
color, can be surprisingly intense
in large quantities, so proceed with caution.
rich subtlety of texture is increasingly appreciated in home decoration. Textures
can be both casual (rough, nubbly or earthy) or formal (smooth, elegant fabrics).
Texture is particularly important at the window where light penetrates the fabric
or material. Always put the sample to be used in an application up to the window
to judge the effect of light coming through it, as the texture will alter the diffusion
of the light. In answer to the designer and
consumer demand for texture, Hunter
Douglas has added several new appealing textures to its popular Duette honeycomb
shades, including Batiste, a linen-like woven fabric with the durability of a non-woven
in two styles. Luminette sheers just introduced some new sheers fabrics, including
Sheer Linen, Summer Breeze with "barely there" checks and Abstractions
with a contemporary, fluid pattern.
For optimum function and pleasing aesthetics
Hunter Douglas continues to lead the field with new introductions every year that
anticipate consumers' needs.
Hunter Douglas Inc. is a national sponsor of
Habitat for Humanity, covering windows in every Habitat home built in the U.S. and
Canada. Headquartered in Upper Saddle River N.J., the company is the leading manufacturer
of custom window coverings in North America.
For more information, contact Hunter
Douglas at 1-800-937-STYLE (1-800-937-7895) or visit www.hunterdouglas.com.